When I first started practicing yoga, I heard the above phrase repeated many times, many different ways — the mat supports you, feel supported by the mat, this is your support, etc. I never fully understood how the mat supports us during our yoga practice. For me, the yoga mat is a safe place, a place where I feel strong (even with a few child’s poses) and whole.
It was not until I listened to a podcast by Judith Hansen Lasater, yoga teacher and a physical therapist, about doing a 20 minute savasana each day. She is also known as THE restorative yoga teacher in the United States. She states that she wishes she could make everyone do a 20 minute savasana each day. She also states that the body can only heal if it is at rest. She also describes the stages that we enter into during savasana, explaining why it has to be 20 minutes.
So, I have been doing a 20 minute savasana after my home practices, and I now understand how the mat supports us. I feel my body melt into the mat; I am not sure how long it is, but my legs and arm feel like I am stuck to the mat. Each time I do a 20 minute savasana, I have a different experience, but always I feel this support from the mat, like it is holding me. This feeling of support is there even when I feel like my mind is racing. There is such a peaceful feeling in my body.
I am waving a magic wand, and recommend a 20 minute savasana, whether or not a yoga practice is part of your life. Just lie down on a mat or blanket, eyes closed — an eye pillow is nice but not necessary — and be still for 20 minutes. I use a timer because I am not sure what 20 minutes feels like. Please feel free to share your experiences with me.
Here is the podcast mentioned above:
(Photo courtesy of http://www.womenshealthmag.com)